Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years' Wishes

Wishing all my readers a safe and joyous New Year as we move on from the Noughties and into...the Noughteens!

Thanks for your comments, contributions and correspondence. As I've said before, couldn't do it without ya!

And remember kids, if you're gonna have a night out on the tiles, drink responsibly.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Q & A Sessions

Last night, I joined WikiAnswers, which bills itself as the "world's leading Q & A site".

The concept of the site is quite simple: users ask questions on various topics and other users attempt to answer them.

Obviously, my focus has been on the vampire side of things. You can read my contributions here.

I'll cite one such example: a user asked "Did Edgar Allan Poe have vampires in his stories?" To which, I replied:
Not in the traditional sense of the term, but a few of his stories did feature vampiric overtones. These include "Berenice" (1835), "Ligeia" (1838), "The Fall of the House of Usher" (1839) and "The Oval Portrait" (1842).

A few of these are collected in the anthology, Dead Brides: Vampire Tales (1999).

Manly Wade Wellman featured Poe as a character in his short vampire story, "When It Was Moonlight" (1940).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Vampirologists on YouTube

Vampirologists don't get much coverage on YouTube for some reason.

In fact, as of this writing, there are only two clips featuring them (at least ones that specifically include the term "vampirologist").

The first is an episode of German game show, Sag die Wahrheit. The panelists have to decide which of the three guests is vampire expert, Hans Meurer.

The second clip features Brazilian, Teodore Stille, billed as "probably todays most important scholar in vampirology on the world." I am somewhat skeptical of this claim.

A search for his name on Google only turns up 8 references to his name - and they're all connected to this clip. The bio accompanying the video also seems a tad suspect:
He was born in upstate Rio de Janeiro, he was raised and spent his teenage years in Romenia, where he begun his education in vampirology. Dr. Stille graduated at Bucarovia University and earned his Ph.D. at the most important vampirology academy in Brasilia, Brazil. Dr. Teodoro Stille travels around the world doing speeches and workshops.
Surely, a vampire scholar of this calibre would have wider representation on the 'net?

Meurer's "credentials" on the other hand, are much more easily verified. He is the author of several works concerning the undead.

In the Wake of New Moon

Here's a few letters from the mX (Melbourne) concerning the Twilight phenomena.

New Mooner
writes ("In the Twilight of Their Opinion", Monday November 23, 2009, p. 24):
Anna Brain (For What It's Worth, mX, Thu) [Brain is one of the paper's pop culture columnists -ed.], a negative review of New Moon? How unoriginal. People of all ages have a real love affair with these books and movies. Surely you felt the atmosphere of opening night? Millions of people can't be wrong...right?
However, G doesn't share this sentiment ("For Real",
Monday November 23, 2009, p. 24):
Anna Brain, at last someone who's read and seen Twilight and sees it for what it is. What I also find scary is how some girls might end up in abusive relationships and not do anything about it, because it's what Edward does.
It's also caused some frustration for David ("Twi Not", Monday November 23, 2009, p. 24):
Anyone would think that Twilight New Moon was the second coming of Jesus. If I hear one more thing about it, I'll murder someone. Who cares?
And lastly, B. Stoker chimes in with his two cents ("Gurgling", Friday November 27, 2009, p. 19):
Tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, climate change, Twilight movie and its fans - the world really is going down the drain.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cyprien Robert and the Montague Summers Connection

Last Sunday, I was reading Manly Wade Wellman's "The Last Grave of Lill Warran" in Peter Haining's anthology, The Vampire Hunters' Casebook (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1997), when I was struck by an intriguing reference within the text.

The hero of the story, John Thunstone, pens a letter to his colleague, well-known French occult detective, Jules de Grandin, about a case he had been investigating. It was this particular passage that caught my attention (which contains spoilers, so look away if you want to read the story):
If Lill Warran was a werewolf, and killed in her werewolf shape, it follows as a commonplace that she became a vampire after death. You can read as much in Montague Summers, as well as the work of your countryman, Cyprien Robert (188).
No doubt many of those with even a passing interest in vampire scholarship would surely have heard of Montague Summers. Even though he only wrote two book-length studies on vampirism (The Vampire: His Kith and Kin, 1928 and The Vampire in Europe, 1929), his shadow looms long and large over the field.

But who was this Cyprien Robert character?

At first, I thought he might've been a fictional creation. Mainly because in all my studies, I couldn't recall his name in association with vampire scholarship. I also thought it could have been a cross-narrative in-joke: after all, as mentioned, Thunstone writes to de Grandin, who happens to be a creation of fellow Weird Tales writer, Seabury Quinn.

Wellman's story, incidentally, was first published in Weird Tales' May 1951 issue.

H.P. Lovecraft, another famous contributor to Weird Tales, and his correspondents would also engage in this form of inter-narrative play. Here's an example from Robert Bloch's Wikipedia entry:
Bloch's early stories were strongly influenced by Lovecraft. Indeed, a number of his stories were set in, and extended, the world of Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. It was Bloch who invented, for example, the oft-cited Mythos texts De Vermis Mysteriis and Cultes des Goules.
Lovecraft also combined fictional works with real ones in several of his stories.

Anyhoo, I resolved to solve this matter by using the scholar's friend: Google! I typed in "Cyprien Robert" and "vampire" and the second entry was a major step in giving the game away:

The second entry is a facsimile reprint of Summers' The Vampire in Europe. Sure enough, the text cites Robert:
Again in his Les Slaves de Turquie Cyprien Robert describes the vrykolakes of Thessaly and Epirus thus: "These are living men mastered by a kind of somnabulism, who seized by a thirst for blood go forth at night from their shepherd's-huts, and scour the country biting and tearing all that they meet both man and beast." (218-19)
The first entry you see, is an article by Martin V. Riccardo called "Vampires as Sleepwalkers". Here's what he has to say about Robert:
Cyprien Robert, a writer and researcher in the 19th century, was given descriptions of vrykolakes in Thessaly and Epirus, regions of Greece. From what he heard of these vampires he wrote, "These are living men mastered by a kind of somnambulism, who seized by a thirst for blood go forth at night from their shepherd's huts, and scour the country biting and tearing all that they meet both man and beast." Somnambulism is another word for sleepwalking.
Obviously, Summers is the common thread.

However, Summers himself appears to have been a tad derivative. Here's a passage from a facsimile reprint of John Cuthbert Lawson's Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion: A Study in Survivals, originally published in 1910:
The other authority is Cyprien Robert, who describes the vrykolakes of Thessaly and Epirus thus: 'These are living men mastered by a kind of somnabulism, who seized by a thirst for blood go forth at night from their shepherd's-huts, and scour the country biting and tearing all that they meet both man and beast.' (379)
Summers acknowledges his debt to Lawson's work in his "Introduction" to The Vampire: His Kith and Kin.

But, back to Robert.

The work Summers and Lawson cite was published in Paris in 1844. Thanks to the magic of Google Book Search, it can be read here.

I haven't been able to turn up much on the author himself, except that he was born in 1807 and that he published a bunch of works - not on vampires - but on Slavs. So, far from being a "vampire expert", I'd say the vampire crossed into his ethnographic studies, as part of his coverage on Slavic folklore.

Thus, I'm inclined to believe that Wellman came across mentions of Robert in Summers writings and seamlessly blended him in.

Nonetheless, it also reveals that Robert could be a very interesting source for vampire studies...

Bane's Encyclopedia Cover Revealed!

Sometime ago, I wrote about Theresa Bane's upcoming vampire encyclopedia.

She's posted an update about it on her blog, along with its cover, which, I gotta say, looks pretty spiffy.

It's called Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology, but we'll have to wait a while for it. According to Bane, it's due for release in "June in 2010 as a 7×10 hardback and as an e-book download."

You can pre-order it now, if you like. That is, if you happen to have a spare US$75 lying around.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cracking the Hundredth Mark

While I was watching Neighbours today (ahem), one of the ad breaks screened a compilation album called Forbidden: Songs of Love, Lust & Blood.

What does this have to do with vampires, praytell?

It was the angle being used to promote it. That's right, they were pitching a vampire connection!

The ad was too brief - and surprising - for me to have jotted down any notes (not that I sit in front of the telly with a notepad and pen in hand, mind you), so I'll hand you over to CD Online's spiel:
2 CDs for the lovers of all things vampire. The world has been swept up in the craze of Vampires, whether it be the romantic movies, tv series, books, actors etc, we can't get enough of this fantasy world. Disc 1 features Rock/Emo sounds with Vampire themes and Disc 2 features Acoustic/Indie focusing on love, lust & passion.
Some of the inclusions are certainly a bit...unusual. I mean, blink-182's "First Date"? 3 Doors Down's "Kryptonite"? Really?

Despite the (mostly American) acts present on the album, it's certainly an Aussie compilation in that it features a pretty decent amount of Australian acts, namely, The Living End, Short Stack, Kisschasy, Sia, Missy Higgins, Butterfly Boucher, Josh Pyke, The Audreys and Little Birdy.

It's quite obviously a cash-in on the recent release (November 19) of New Moon, but boy that cover looks pretty!

It's also interesting to see the romance (for want of a better word) angle being so prominently featured. Tragic love. That, I believe, is the drive behind the success of Meyer's books. Not vampires, per se, but the themes she explores in her series. The vampires, I think, are practically peripheral.

Now, as you may have noticed from the title of this entry, this is my hundredth post for this blog! So, after that previous ramble, I'll share some goodies with you to mark the occasion:
  • "Meet the Twlight Mums". Read this heartwarming (or, disturbing, if you prefer) story of a bunch of mums who got together to share their love over Meyer's books.
  • Martin V. Riccardo's "The Vampire as a Psychic Archetype", TAT Journal: The Forum for Awareness 2.3 (1979).
  • I was recently looking for a copy of Matthew Kratter's "Twilight of the Vampires: History and Myth of the Undead", Contagion: Journal of Violence, Mimesis, and Culture 5 (1998). I wound up contacting the journal's publisher, Michigan State University Press, only to be informed by its Order Fulfillment Manager that the article was...available for free as a download! Woohoo! You can access download it via this page. But, a word of warning: you'll need Adobe Acrobat (it's a pdf file) and you'll have to download the entire issue (c. 25mb) to have your own copy of the article.
  • Remember my entry on the (rather dubious) connection between porphyria and vampires a while back? Well, I've got something a bit more scientific for you: Ann M. Cox's "Porphyria and Vampirism: Another Myth in the Making", Postgraduate Medical Journal 71.841 (1995). You can download it through here, and yes, it'll be another pdf file.
  • Lastly, here's a stack of articles from Innana Arthen's "Rare Article Archive" from her webiste, By Light Unseen.
Well, that about wraps it up for now. Have fun kids!

I'd like to take the time to thank my readers, commentators, followers and even casual browsers of this blog. Wouldn't be much point without you!

I'd also like to give particular thanks to Niels K. Petersen and Andrew M. Boylan for some wonderful correspondence.

Thanks guys and keep up the good work!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Even Hackers Go Crazy for Twilight

You know you've made it big when even hackers exploit your popularity.

Here's "Hackers Put Bite on Fans" from the Thursday November 19, 2009 edition of mX (Melbourne), p. 5:
Cyber criminals are attempting to rob personal information of fans of the Twilight series.
Security software company PC Tools has identified a scheme that targets people who search online for author of the books, Stephenie Meyer.
When users click on to "Stephenie Meyer at", their computer is infected with malware that asks them to install phony antivirus software.
The Vampire Byte program then sucks out personal details.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Vampires on Telly

Speaking of localised vampire interest, I was surprised to see vampires featured on Wednesday's The 7pm Project (Channel 10, 7pm-7:30pm) and via a crappy skit on Hungry Beast later that night (Channel 2, 9pm-9:30pm).

It's a lead-up to the cinematic release of New Moon, nationally, today.

On Friday the 13th, I was also sent an e-mail by Allison Bethurem, FutureWorks PR, who notified me about Stephenie Meyer's appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, the same day. The show was listed as a Facebook event.

I never caught it as a) I was busy that day b) the screening times differ in my country c) Allison notified me by a Gmail account I rarely use.

But, still, it's the principle of the thing. We're talking about a vampire author on Oprah!

How often does that happen?

The world has gone vampire-mad!

More Chicken Soup

If you own a copy of Richard Greene and K. Silem Mohammad's philosophical anthology, The Undead and Philosophy: Chicken Soup for the Soulless (2006), then you might be wondering about the content of Zombies, Vampires, and Philosophy (2010).

After all, the same editors are involved and it's also going to be published by Open Court.

The question is, how much does it differ from the previous publication?

Is it a whole new anthology, or merely a rehashed, retitled reprint of the first book?

Here's what Open Court's description of the book has to say on the matter:
This is an expanded and re-titled edition of Open Court’s The Undead and Philosophy: Chicken Soup for the Soulless. It includes two new chapters and a new introduction.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Localised Vampire Interest

Looks like there's other kindred spirits haunting the web.

Here's how Amy Gray - author of How to Be a Vampire: A Fangs-On Guide for the Newly Undead (2009) - is described by Candlewick Press:

Amy Gray is a writer, photographer, and amateur vampirologist who has been fascinated with vampires, spooky art and literature, and the supernatural stories.
I had no idea she was a fellow Aussie until I read the rest of the description.

It's great to see such contributions being made by my fellow countrymen. And women. Ahem.

You probably weren't even aware such writings came from here. After all, did you know that
Ken Gelder (Reading the Vampire, 1994) and Gordon David Keyworth (Troublesome Corpses: Vampires & Revenants from Antiquity to the Present, 2007) are fellow Australians?

And, just like many other parts of the world, we've been bitten by the Twilight bug.

Martin V. Riccardo forwarded me two interesting articles that discuss the rise of vampire interest in my country, largely off the back of the success of Stephenie Meyer's series and its subsequent movie(s).

The first article talks about its success knocking another popular franchise off its block:
VAMPIRES have killed off boy wizards in the battle for the imaginations of Aussie kids.

The popularity of supernatural bloodsuckers has eclipsed old favourite Harry Potter, with children eagerly awaiting the release next Thursday of the second movie in the wildly successful Twilight series, New Moon.
The second article he sent talks about the rise of "VAMPIRE clubs, covens and lairs".

Now, I'm not saying that vampires have completely taken over our society, but it's interesting to see how much they've caught on. We don't exactly have a huge horror fanbase here. Hallowe'en is still generally regarded as an "American holiday".

That said, I'm not operating under any grand illusions with vampires' current popularity. I know that it's nothing more than a trend that'll pass soon enough, but it's also interesting to see just how deeply vampires have embedded themselves in mainstream popular culture.

I don't think vampires have ever been this popular.

So, for better or worse, hats off to Mrs. Meyer and her sparkly undead.

I can only hope that this current popularity will generate more scholarly writings on vampires in general. After all, there's more to 'em than Edward Cullen!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gotta Draw the Line Somewhere

Ah, the price of fame.

Or, more importantly, the price of portraying a vampire that girls across the globe (and probably a few blokes, too) swoon over.

Rob Pattinson's concerns are voiced in "Crazed Twilight Fans 'Slice Open Necks'":

"I just don't want someone to have a needle and give me HIV and I don't want to get shot or stabbed."

Pattinson recalled one time where a group of girls approached him bleeding from scratches they had just opened up on their necks.

"They were like, 'We did this for you' … I didn't know what to say — 'Thank you, guys?'"

They do know he's a friggin' actor, right?


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Coupla Follow-Ups

In "More Wishes", I openly wondered whether the April 20, 2010 release of Paul Barber's Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality was actually a new edition.

So, I decided to ask the author himself.

Barber confirmed that the book
isn't a second edition, but contains an updated introduction partly discussing the current Twilight craze. The index has also been re-jigged.

The book's publisher, Yale University Press, also apparently refers to the book as a "reissue".

If you've missed out on getting an original copy of Barber's 1988 work, then the reissue will do you a world of good. Plus, it's got this spiffy new cover!

Next up, we look at Brad Steiger's Real Vampires, Night Stalkers, and Other Creatures from the Darkside (2010). We'll be focusing on disputed page length, which was previously covered here.

As I mentioned, its Amazon listing credits it with 400 pages. As of this writing, it still does:

However, as I previously noted, I have a copy of this book and the pages only number up to 287.

So, I contacted the book's publisher, Visible Ink Press (VIP), about this discrepancy.

A representative confirmed that the book didn't have 400 pages, but 304 pages. Now, this makes sense, because the 287 figure I referred to was its page length in Arabic numerals. What I failed to take into account were the Roman numerals used for the intro, etc.

Nonetheless, this still takes it far below the 400 pages listed on its Amazon entry. The VIP's rep informed me he had contacted Amazon about the matter. But, as can be seen from the screencap, the page number's yet to be fixed.

Something else that bugged me about Steiger's book was the copyright date in its publication details. The book was quite clearly published in 2009. Amazon confirms this. Yet, the publication date is listed as 2010.

What's the deal there?

The VIP rep was able to give me the scoop on that, too: "in publishing, the copyright year generally starts in September, which is when Real Vampire [sic] was published."

That would also explain why Jay Stevenson's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vampires was published - and available - in late 2001, but has a copyright date of 2002.

Mystery solved!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

For Twilight Fans with a Sense of Humour

Ben Relles of sent me a link to a music video featured in one of his site's segments, "Key of Awesome":

It's called "Emo Vampire" and features a Draculaesque vampire lamenting the state vampires haven fallen into ("I've got nothing in common with the vampires of today / They gaze at girls and pout and brood and then just run away") since the Twilight boom.

Can't say I blame him!

Feeling a Bit Peckish

Even though this image comes from SpiritHalloween - an online Halloween costumes store - it wouldn't be out of place in an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation:

You gotta dig the pinched skin between the bitemarks. Sure, it might not be as pretty as two little puncture wounds, but it's probably a helluva lot more accurate!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Everything Old Is New Again

Andrew recently wrote a review for Weird Vampire Tales (1992) after I recommended it to him, a little while ago.

It seems he enjoyed the anthology of pulp fiction vampire stories as much as I did.

However, his description of the stories all being taken from Weird Tales is slightly inaccurate: most of them were. But not all. This site shows which story came from which magazine.

Andrew's review also notes a couple of (now) standard vampire tropes, which may originally have been published in the pulps. For example:
In a visual medium, as far as I know, it was Dan Curtis who brought the concept of the reincarnated love into the vampire genre as a main theme in Dark Shadows. I, the Vampire by Henry Kutner is a much earlier written example of the concept being used – dating back to 1937.
And "William Tenn uses science, and a blood substitute, to enable vampires and humans to coexist, long before True Blood, in She Only Goes Out at Night."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dressing the Part

How popular are vampires at the moment?

According to an entry in Google's official blog, "vampire costumes" were "one of the top 10 searches this year".

A sizable amount of these (unsurprisingly) relate to Twilight.

Thankfully, MTV's Movies Blog provides some suggestions for non-Twilight vampire costumes.

Time for a Bite

Well, we've sent out the invitations, got some music and had a stab at a costume.

Now, it's time for some grub. I know! How about Vampire Cupcakes?!

Or maybe some truffles?

Worried about those suckers putting the bite on you? Well, as long as you don't mind scaring fellow partygoers off with your breath, here's some Anti-Vampire Popcorn.

There's something you can suck on, yourself: a lollipop!

After you're done scoffing down those, you can wash it down with a nice
Blood Shake. No? How about some punch?

Oh, you want something a bit stronger. Then here's a Vampire's Elixir. Down the hatch! And here's a Vampire Blood chaser.

Enjoy the party!

Suspicious Invitation

Here's something cute and crafty from Zazzle:

Sheesh. Vampires must be getting lazy this time of year. Normally you're supposed to invite them over the threshold.

President Bites

In early 2008, Barack Obama was the subject of a short called Barackula: The Musical.

The musical's website describes the plot thusly:
Barackula is a short political horror rock musical about young Barack Obama having to stave off a secret society of vampires at Harvard when he was inducted into presidency at the Harvard Law Review in 1990. Obama (Justin Sherman) finds that he must convince the vampire society that opposing political philosophies can coexist or else the society may transform Obama to the dark side. Reminiscent to Michael Jackson's Thriller and a slight infusion of Jesus Christ Superstar and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Now that he's actually President, it seems he has gone over to the darkside.

Well, at least going by this mask doing the rounds for Hallowe'en:

Looks like it's more than foreign policy sucking the country dry.

Hallowe'en Mixtape

Ok, so it's not totally vampire-related, but here's my mixtape for today:
  1. Michael Jackson - "Thriller"
  2. Maniac Spider Trash - "Graveyard Bash"
  3. Reverend Horton Heat - "The Halloween Dance"
  4. Rob Zombie featuring the Ghastly Ones - "Halloween (She Get So Mean)"
  5. Demented are Go - "Stake in the Heart"
  6. The Creepniks - "Zombie Stomp"
  7. The Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13 - "Oogie Boogie Baby Baby"
  8. Blitzkid - "Pretty in a Casket"
  9. Misfits - "Monster Mash (Studio Version)"
  10. Ghoultown - "Fistful of Demons"
  11. Nekromantix - "Trick or Treat"
  12. Thee Invaders - "I Wanna Eat Your Brain"
  13. Zombina and the Skeletones - "Nobody Likes You (When You're Dead)"
  14. Kim's Teddy Bears - "Voodoo Doll"
  15. Bat Attakk - "Zombie Disco"
  16. Send More Paramedics - "Zombie Crew"
  17. The 69 Eyes - "Lost Boys"
  18. Calabrese - "Backseat of My Hearse"
  19. Gein and the Graverobbers - "The Phantom of Route 44"
  20. Horror of 59 - "Frankenstein Returns"
  21. North American Hallowe'en Prevention Initiative - "Do They Know It's Hallowe'en?"
  22. Wednesday 13 - "Till Death Do Us Party"
  23. The Horrors - "Jack the Ripper"
  24. Serpenteens - "It's Halloween!"

Vampire Picture Mystery

While I was having a look for the image in the previous post, I came across one I had saved from the 'net, six years ago.

Its one of the best vampire illustrations I've ever seen.

Unfortunately, I didn't make a note of the website I downloaded it from, except I do remember that it was Satanist-related. The image's filename was "DRACS".

If any reader out there could tell me who the artist is, or other places the picture appears, that'd be much appreciated.

Hallowe'en Treats

Happy Hallowe'en folks!

I'll run off a few blog posts today to mark the occasion.

If you haven't had a chance to read my "Vampires Converge on Halloween" article for Reading with a Bite, then check that one out to get you in the spirit of things. My commentary on said post can be found here.

Wondering how I became an amateur vampirologist? Look no further than my contribution to VampChix. I wrote up some comments on that posting, too.

Now it's time for another glimpse into the past.

When I was nine, I was really into fantasy, myths and legends and the "unknown". The following image was taken from an orange 96 page exercise book I used to sketch in. To my knowledge, it's my earliest attempt at depicting a vampire:

Incidentally, the little bottle on the right side of the pic is labeled, "BLOOD".

Other than that, all the classic vampire "traits" are there. The widow's peak. The high collar. The cloak over the face. Bat hovering nearby.

They're also largely derived from Bela Lugosi's portrayal of the Count, except, I hadn't seen the film at that time.

I'm not hinting at anything mysterious. After all, I'm sure most kids would probably render vampires in a similar way. That's a testament to the durability of Lugosi's Count in popular consciousness.

Follow-Up on Romancing

In "More Wishes", I indicated that I wasn't quite sure what kind of book David J. Skal's upcoming Romancing the Vampire: From Past to Present (November 2009) was meant to be.

Well, thanks to his website, I can now inform you that it'll be an
unprecedented treasure trove of undead history, iconography, and memorabilia, and a must-have book for your favorite vampire fan.
And, from having a look at some of the spreads featured on the homepage, as well as keeping the page length in consideration (144 pages, according to Amazon), we're basically dealing with a glossy coffee table book.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

If anything, it might be a bonus. Skal's works are filled with incredibly rare vampire (and vampire-related) images, as Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen (1990), V Is for Vampire: An A-Z Guide to Everything Undead (1996) and Vampires: Encounters with the Undead (2001) all attest.

Here's hoping!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Giving a Little Credit

I was just having a word to Andrew about an anthologist who doesn't get nearly enough credit in the fictional vampire realm.

I'm talking about Martin H. Greenberg.

His entry on Fantastic Fiction shows just how proliferate he is. But, scattered amidst the entries are a swag of vampire anthologies marked by their diverse niches.

Sure, he's edited relatively generic collections like Vampires: The Greatest Stories (1991), A Taste for Blood (1991) with Robert E. Weinberg and Stefan R. Dziemianowicz and 100 Vicious Little Vampire Stories (1995), with the same editors and Vampires: A Collection of Original Stories (1991) and Jane Yolen.

But then, we move onto collections for the female persuasion like Vamps: An Anthology of Female Vampire Stories (1987) with Charles G. Waugh and Girl's Night Out: 29 Female Vampire Stories (1997) with Robert E Weinberg and Stefan R Dziemianowicz.

Probably the same crowd that would dig the erotic and romantic subgenres covered in Love in Vein: Twenty Original Tales of Vampiric Erotica (1994) with Poppy Z. Brite and Single White Vampire Seeks Same (2001) with Brittiany A. Koren, respectively.

Kids get coverage in Children of the Night (1999).

For something a bit more blokey, there's the pulp fiction reprints featured in Weird Vampire Tales (1992) with Robert E. Weinberg and Stefan R. Dziemianowicz.

One could argue that the vampire detective genre (Nick Knight, Mick St. John, Vicki Nelson, etc.) spun-off from the pulps. They're also represented in Vampire Detectives (1995).

Their (generally) sympathetic portrayals have come from the romanticisation of the vampire, spearheaded by writers like Anne Rice and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and most recently, Stephenie Meyer. People who dig those types might be interested in Virtuous Vampires (1996) with Robert E Weinberg and Stefan R Dziemianowicz.

That's not to say there isn't a little room for a bit more traditionalism. That's why the vampire hunters get represented in Vampire Slayers: Stories of Those Who Dare to Take Back the Night (1999) with Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. Although, going by the date and the title, it was probably an attempt to cash in on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003).

Success and fame can be a bit of a drain, so take heart with Celebrity Vampires (1995).

The what-ifs presented in that book are given much greater historical scope in the alternate history collection, Time of the Vampires (1996) with P. N. Elrod.

For something much more geographically-focued, Greenberg and Lawrence Schimel's "American Vampire" series incorporated Blood Lines: Vampire Stories from New England (1997), Southern Blood: Vampire Stories from the American South (1997), Fields of Blood: Vampire Stories of the Heartland (1998) and Streets of Blood: Vampire Stories from New York City (1998).

Greenberg and Esther M. Friesner mingled vampires with culture in Blood Muse (1995), stories "all set in the world of the arts - in painting, sculpture, music, the cinema, the theater and the dance, among others."

Count Dracula gets a lil' competition in Rivals of Dracula (1996) with Robert E Weinberg and Stefan R Dziemianowicz.

And lastly, if you prefer to listen to stories, then there's always the Midnight Mass & Other Great Vampire Stories (2002) audiobook.

Martin Harry Greenberg, I salute you!

Some Brief Notes on Real Vampires

Received my copy of Brad Steiger's Real Vampires, Night Stalkers, and Creatures from the Darkside today.

I ordered it from a seller on eBay and it was one of the items on my Amazon Wishlist.

And, I gotta say, I was a tad...disappointed.

Not by the content of the book itself. Haven't had a chance to read it yet. No, I'm talking
page length. You see, the book's Amazon listing credits it with 400 pages. The book's publisher, Visible Ink Press (VIP), says it contains 300 pages.

How many does it actually have?

A measly 287.

Also, somewhat bizarrely (at least, to me), the copyright date of the book is 2010. Both its Amazon and VIP listing note its publication date as September 2009. Whether this means you can plagiarise huge chunks of it willy-nilly till next year, remains to be seen.

I've e-mailed VIP about this page length and copyright date anomaly and eagerly await their reply.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lost in Translation?

I gave brieff coverage to Claude Lecouteux's upcoming book, The Secret History of Vampires: Their Multiple Forms and Hidden Purposes (2010) in "More Wishes".

I also mentioned that it was most likely an English translation of his 1999 book, Histoire des vampires : Autopsie d'un mythe.

However, Niels' "The Return of the Dead" has given me cause for concern regarding the veracity of the translation itself.

The English translation is going to be published by Inner Traditions. Here's how the publisher describes itself on its homepage:
Founded in 1975, Inner Traditions is a leading publisher of books on indigenous cultures, perennial philosophy, visionary art, spiritual traditions of the East and West, sexuality, holistic health and healing, self-development, as well as recordings of ethnic music and accompaniments for meditation.
You can download a pdf file of their "forthcoming titles" (Secret History is on the fifth page) here.

Now, onto the criticism.

Niels notes the differences in the translation between a German edition of Lecouteux's Fantômes et revenans au Moyen Age and the Inner Traditions English translation, The Return of the Dead: Ghosts, Ancestors, and the Transparent Veil of the Pagan Mind, noting that
the English translation is slightly abbreviated and less academical. It does contain the notes, but the quotes in original languages (including my native language, Danish) are omitted. Chapter three in the German edition, Totenbräuche, appears to be missing from the English edition, whereas the afterword by Régis Boyer from the original French edition is retained in the English translation.
Now, I should note that Niels states he doesn't own a copy of the original French version. So, it might be possible that the German edition, itself, was augmented.

I should also note that I actually own a copy of Lecouteux's
Histoire, so it'll be very interesting comparing it to the English translation.

After it's published on March 15, next year.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bounty on a Vampire Killer

Edwina Scott's "Reward Posted for Info on Vampire Murder" relates to a $1 million dollar offer for information on the person responsible for killing Shane Chartes-Abbott, who was shot dead in Reservoir on June 4, 2003.

It should be said that Chartres-Abbott didn't exactly keep his nose clean. In fact, at the time he was shot, he was
part-way through a trial in the Victorian County Court facing charges he raped and assaulted a client by biting off part of her tongue after allegedly telling her he was a vampire, older than the city of Melbourne, who drank blood to survive.

Free Plug!

Alison McNeill, Account Associate II of FutureWorks has informed me of an Independent Film Channel (IFC) presentation called Dead & Lonely.

It's produced, written and directed by Ti West. The guy's credits caught my attention, because he also made The Roost (2005). I haven't seen that flick yet, but it does hold interest. Here's it's synopsis from
A group of young people are en route to a friend's wedding in the remote countryside of Pennsylvania when they hit something unseen, lose control of their car and become stranded. The foursome reluctantly wanders down the deserted road and into the eerie darkness. They come upon a farmhouse where they hope they can use the phone to call for help -- but no one seems to be at home. It isn't long before they learn that the farm has been taken over by vampire bats that have already claimed the lives of the older couple who lived there. But, once bitten, the victims come back to life zombie-style and those still living have to not only dodge the bats, but the undead as well.
So, in essence, what we have here is a survivalist vampire film. Sort've like From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), but cheaper. Much cheaper.

But, back to Dead & Lonely.

It's a five episode web series which will commence screening on Monday, October 26 at Noon ET/PT.

The storyline revolves around a dating site called Date or Die. In the interests of promoting the series, the IFC has actually turned it into a real website. But don't expect to score dates from it.

The storyline follows that two single Los Angeleans are brought together by the site, but, as it happens, one of them is a vampire.

If that tickles your fancy, check out the series' website.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yep, Another Contribution Elsewhere

Ah, I've been waiting for this one to get published.

What, I didn't mention I had written another contribution elsewhere?

Surprise! Heh heh.

If you mosey on down to VampChix (VC), you'll notice my contribution, which was as requested by Michele Hauf.

In "Just a Quick One", I said I'd explain my "amateur vampirologist" tag at some future point. The blog entry I submitted does just that.

However, just as with my previous contribution elsewhere, some formatting errors seemed to have crept in. Except, in this case, it's also had a few other things snuck in, too.

Time to dissect.

Firstly, I am referred to in the intro as a "self-proclaimed Vampirologist." Ok, fair label. After all, I do refer to myself as one. But I thought the studying vampires bit was self-evident. Vampirology, after all, isn't exactly an established science. There's no real formal qualification to make you one. As Jay Stevenson notes in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vampires (Indianapolis, IN: Alpha, 2002):
Unlike demonology, which once enjoyed a certain degree of official support from the Church, vampirology has no major institutional underpinnings outside of fan clubs and research societies (28).
Next up, the following portion of my blog entry for VC...
Soon after, I began devouring all I could on the subject. A few books that I particularly enjoyed at this time were Lynn Myring's Vampires, Werewolves & Demons (1979), Colin and Jacqui Hawkins' Shriek! A Compendium of Witches, Vampires and Spooks (1985) and I even attempted to wade my way through Paul Barber's Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality (1988), even if a lot of it went over my head.
...was interspersed with Amazon links I didn't originally supply.

Nor did I originally include an Amazon link in, "When I got to high school, I found a copy of John Skipp and Craig Spektor's Fright Night novelisation (1985)". Didn't put one in this - "I later read Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897) [...]" - either.

More Amazon links magically turn up in the following paragraph:
At this time, I was also buying and borrowing non-fiction vampire works. I got Manuela Dunn-Mascetti's Vampire: The Complete Guide to the World of the Undead (1994) for my thirteenth birthday. Later, it'd be accompanied by works like Matthew Bunson's Vampire: The Encyclopædia (1993) and J. Gordon Melton's The Vampire Book: Encyclopedia of the Undead (1994).
The link for Tales from the Cryptkeeper, should have led you here, instead of a dead link.

Something went haywire on VC, in which this...
Now, I should state, that I didn't necessarily join it because I actually believed in Manchester's claims (or in vampires, in general), but it served its purpose. However, when it came to discussing certain matters on the Highgate Vampire case, I found my voice being somewhat restricted, so I founded my own forum to discuss it. This would later lead to a blog of the same name.
...was rendered as this:
Now, I should state, that I didn't necessarily join it because I actually believed in Manchester's claims (or in vampires, in general), but it served its purpose. However, when it came to discussing certain matters on the Highgate Vampire case , I found my voice being somewhat restricted, so I founded my own forum to discuss it. This would later lead to a blog of the same name .
Something similar happened with another paragraph that went from this...
This, in turn, led me to a blog by Danish vampirologist, Niel K. Petersen. We both shared similar interests in vampire folklore and classic vampire studies. His blog was part of the reason I started my own, Diary of an Amateur Vampirologist. this:
This, in turn, led me to a blog by Danish vampirologist, Niel K. Petersen. We both shared similar interests in vampire folklore and classic vampire studies. His blog was part of the reason I started my own, Diary of an Amateur Vampirologist .
And lastly, I didn't originally include an Amazon link in Martin V. Riccardo's name.

All said and done, it's one of my favourite blog entries. Hope you like it too!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Interesting Results

Lindsay's blog entry, "Friday Giveaway Take 3", asks a prurient question:

There were 18 responses to her request and this is where it gets interesting.

Even though Lindsay's blog primarily concentrates on vampire fiction, 14 of the respondents said they'd like more coverage given to vampire myth!

One of the commentators, joder, even suggested the following:
I like the inclusion of myths, maybe you could get a professor to blog about the topic on a regular basis (we can have our own Dr. Sanguinary).
With all the coverage currently given to Twilight, True Blood and, to a lesser extent, The Vampire Diaries, I was starting to think that the Vampire Fad's been driven by characterisations, not vampires themselves.

That is, it's not that we've become enamoured of bloodsuckers, but of characters (like Edward Cullen) who just happen to be vampires. Vampire Celebrities, if you will. Flavours of the Month.

Thus, the results from Lindsay's blog entry do give me some inspiration. After all, there's much more to the rich fabric of the Vampire Universe than what Stephenie Meyer, Anne Rice or even Bram Stoker have contributed to it.

Of course, I should admit to a personal bias here.

I'm much more interested in vampire folklore; the "myths" most likely referred to by Lindsay and her respondents. However, the late Alan Dundes criticised using the term "myth" in reference to vampires. Here's what he wrote in The Vampire: A Casebook (Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1998):
The use of the word myth to refer to stories of the vampire is anathema to the professional folklorist. For the folklorist, myth is a technical term referring to sacred narratives explaining how the world or humankind came to be in their present form. Because encounters with vampires, real or imagined, having nothing whatever to do with the creation of the world or humankind, they do not qualify as bona fide myths. Nor are such stories "folktales," which are fictional, as indicated by an opening formula (e.g., "Once upon a time"), signalling that what follows is not to be taken as literal, historical truth. Vampire accounts are what folklorists call legends, that is, stories told as true and set in the postcreation world (159).
In terms of fictional literary tastes, you'll have to scour through "Hi Angela!" to see the type that appeals to me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ev'rybody Knows You're Losht

If you can overlook the lead singer's goofy voice, then this makes for a pretty rockin' vampire-themed tune in time for Halloween:

It's "Lost Boys" by The 69 Eyes, from their 2004 album, Devils.

If you're unsure of the song's inspiration (and, quite frankly, I'd be surprised if you are), then click here.

The clip also has the distinction of being directed by Bam Margera, who first came to fame through MTV's Jackass.

More Wishes

"Let's Hope These Wishes Come True" dealt with some books on Amazon that I've got my eye on.

Last night, a few more captured my attention.

It looks like Paul Barber's coming out with a new edition of one of the best ever books on vampires, Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality (1988). At least, I hope it's a new edition. The item's description only alludes to a "New Introduction".

Next up, we have Claude Lecouteux's The Secret History of Vampires: Their Multiple Forms and Hidden Purposes (2010), which I'll guess is a translation of Histoire des vampires : Autopsie d'un mythe (1999). Finally!

Erik Butler's Metamorphoses of the Vampire in Literature and Film: Cultural Transformations in Europe, 1732-1933 (2010) sounds like it could cover some interesting ground, but at 218 pages, will it be spreading itself a bit thin?

I'm not quite sure what David J. Skal's Romancing the Vampire: From Past to Present (aka Romancing the Vampire: Collector's Vault) (2009) is. The book cover on display looks more like an ad. But, it's from the same guy who wrote Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen (1990; 2004) and V Is for Vampire: The A-Z Guide to Everything Undead (1996), so I'm sure it'll be of some interest.
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